Canadian Pastor Disappears in North Korea

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

No Information on His Whereabouts Since January 31, 2015

3/3/2015 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) –International Christian Concern has learned that a church in Canada reported its pastor as “missing” in North Korea. The pastor, who travelled on a humanitarian trip at the end of January, did not return home on his flight scheduled at the beginning of February.

Spokesperson for Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Toronto, Lisa Pak, said Tuesday that Reverend Hyeon Soo Lim travelled to North Korea as part of a humanitarian mission. This mission, according to Fox News, is a regular occurrence for the pastor where he “supports a nursing home, a nursery and an orphanage.” 60-year-old Rev. Lim arrived in North Korea on January 31, 2015 and was due home on February 4, 2015. Instead, however, Rev. Lim has not been heard from since he entered the country. “We do not want to cause unnecessary hysteria. We only want to know if he’s okay,” says Pak.

According to Asia News, Rev. Lim is “entirely non-political” and has made over 100 visits to North Korea. Married with an adult child, Rev. Lim grew Light Korean Presbyterian Church from five families to 3,000 parishioners, reports ABC News.  “The church is under real stress,” said Toronto City Councilor Raymond Cho, a long-time friend of Rev. Lim. Cho indicated that Rev. Lim was well known for helping the poor in North Korea. “If he’s detained, if North Korea keeps him for whatever reason, it really doesn’t look good for North Korea,” he said.

Christians have been held by North Korea in recent years for similar activities. Kenneth Bae, a Christian from the United States, spent two years in a hard labor camp after travelling to North Korea. He was accused of “hostile acts against the republic” which included attempts to overthrow the government. Bae served two years of his 15 year sentence of hard labor before being released. Similarly, an Australian missionary, John Short was arrested in February 2014 for distributing religious material. He was released a month later for “humanitarian reasons.”

Corey Bailey, Regional Manager for Asia, says, “North Korea is the world’s worst persecutor of Christians and as such, the disappearance of Reverend Hyeon Soo Lim should not be taken lightly. We demand North Korea reveal the whereabouts of the Reverend and immediately send him home to his family and friends in Canada. We stand in solidarity with the people of Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Toronto and pray for his safe and swift return.

For interviews, contact Corey Bailey: RM-Asia@persecution.org

 

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